— A visceral provenance indeed: The staircase where Harriet Jacobs was beaten.
— The hoopla for “The King’s Speech” gives cause (were any needed) to look back at the insightful and unblinking work of Durham’s Barry Yeoman, e.g., “They Called him B-Biden” and “Why My Stutter Makes me a Better Reporter” and “Wrestling with Words.”
— From the farthest front, 77 accounts by North Carolinians at Gettysburg.
— Jock Lauterer’s latest A Thousand Words selection, from Dorothea Lange, depicts 74-year-old Caroline Atwater in the doorway of her Orange County log home on July 1, 1939.
Just wondering: Might she be kin to Anthony “Shine” Atwater of “Reet and Shine,” the inexplicably uncelebrated dual biography by Michael Schwalbe? (Ranking one-two worldwide in frequency of the Atwater surname: Chapel Hill and Durham.)
— ” ‘Hush puppies don’t have sugar in them,’ she stated categorically.”
“In a kind of parting shot… as whites fled, those highways [to suburbia] were often routed specifically through African American neighborhoods….
“In Durham, for example, [N.C.] Route 147 was built to help connect the downtown manufacturing and business center with land being developed and sold almost exclusively to whites in suburbs north of the city. That highway… displaced Durham’s main African American business district, so well known for its cultural vitality and economic success that it was called the Harlem of the South in the years when Harlem was its most vibrant.”
— From “Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives” by Catherine Lutz and Anne Lutz Fernandez (2010)
— If Western North Carolina was so big on Unionism, why weren’t its legislators?
— 18th century “stone” dollhouse from defunct Old Salem Toy Museum blows away auction estimate.
— I hadn’t realized that Pearl Fryar, the topiary wizard (and movie star) of Bishopville, S.C., had such extensive roots in Clinton and Durham. And he’s appearing Jan. 29 in Greenville.
— “Site of the nation’s first student lunch counter sit-ins”: Baltimore?
— Making the case for “a Rutherford Platt Hayes Day in Asheville.”
— J.B. Rhine, father of the “decline effect”?
More phrase-frequency charts from Google Books Ngram Reader:
— Chapel Hill vs. Raleigh and Durham
— Variety Vacationland. Tourism promotion not a priority during World War II?
— Billy Graham vs. Jim Bakker. No contest, even during the glory run of PTL.
— North Carolina vs. South Carolina. South Carolina’s spike in the early 1700s roughly coincides with its becoming a royal colony.
— muscadine wine. After 150 years out of favor — longer even than big band music! — still waiting for a comeback.
— Death noted: actress Patricia Neal, who played opposite Andy Griffith in the prescient and underrated “A Face in the Crowd” and opposite Gary Cooper in “Bright Leaf,” which inspired “Bright Leaves,” Ross McElwee’s bittersweet documentary on tobacco.
— A big day for challenging long-accepted Civil War numbers: the death toll for North Carolina troops and the percentage of Confederates who owned slaves.
— Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledges error in plaque discovered by Durham blogger.
— “Junebug” screenwriter relishes the serendipity of Winston-Salem’s annual Bulky Item Collection day.
— Just when you thought Walter Dellinger couldn’t be any more ubiquitous….
“One hundred and eight convicts escaped from North Carolina prisons and prison camps last month. Each day into the office of the Durham Herald-Sun ticked A. P. dispatches from Raleigh naming the runaways….
“Telegraph Editor John R. Barry bit his pencil for a new headline to put over such repetitious news…. ‘TODAY’S ESCAPES’ [soon became] one of the most familiar standing heads in the Herald-Sun. Under it last week was chronicled the break of 13 prisoners in three consecutive days.”
— From Time magazine, Aug. 20, 1934
“The first documented use of the name Hayti in Durham is found in a deed of 1877 in which a lot was sold ‘near the town of Durham in the settlement of colored people in the South East end of the corporation of said town known as of Hayti.’
“The origin of the name in this context is a mystery. Conjecture has attributed it to whites as a name for any black settlement, and to blacks as an expression of their admiration of and hope of emulating the independent island nation.
“The use of the term as a convention of mapmakers for any predominantly black community was current as early as 1867. A map of New Bern and vicinity in that year identified the black settlement across the Trent River from the town proper as Hayti, even though it had a name, James City.”
— From “Durham County: A History of Durham County, North Carolina” (1990) by Jean Bradley Anderson